Ryan Bates began his freshman campaign splitting time at left guard, and finished it as a “no help needed” left tackle in the Rose Bowl. Through the last half of the year, Bates was Penn State’s best offensive lineman on a squad that averaged 490 yards and 45.5 points per game. None of that, unfortunately, was enough for Bates to garner even an “Honorable Mention” from the Big Ten. This is because sportswriters are generally morons when it comes to offensive line play.
But we few, we happy few, we band of BSD cultists - we get to look smart well ahead of John Q Public by proclaiming Ryan Bates as a 2017 breakout player, since he’s already, silently, broken out on film in 2016.
KILL THE LIGHTS
Wisconsin’s top 10 defense featured two pass rushing studs. In the Big Ten Championship Game against the Badgers, freshman Bates gave up zero sacks. Here, in the gif below, he chops Vince Biegel into the field turf. The Green Bay Packers just gave Biegel $3.1 million to play football for them (though presumably not like this).
As a guard, Bates (#52) possesses the agility to get to the second level of the defense, and “engage” linebackers - like this one from Temple, whom Bates launches 10 yards across the field.
Bates is smart. He (and fellow freshman Steven Gonzalez) can sniff out ET stunts, and stomp a mudhole in TJ Watt, whom the Pittsburgh Steelers recently handed $9.3 million to play football for them (though presumably not like this).
He hustles 40 yards downfield to get a block, even though he’s playing Purdue, and there’s no one to block, because it’s Purdue.
Feet and hands, friends. Feet. And. Hands. Bates has a special pair of each. Wide base, straight back, great balance, never reaches, stays patient - what Bates does here to the Wisconsin pass rusher is the football equivalent of a “stop hitting yourself, little brother, why are you hitting yourself” routine.
HIT THE LIGHTS
If you ever get bored of following the odd-shaped ball around the field, then glue your eyes to #52 for a while. He’s pretty good.
This is, however, your last Ryan Bates stock buying opportunity. Supply will evaporate quickly. What’s patently obvious to us will become patently obvious even to the All-B1G voting sportswriters over the next 5 months (may take Teddy Greenstein 17 months). Buy now. Buy it all. Then go, and proclaim the gospel. Your reward will be everlasting bragging rights.